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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 October 2018

Libyan gunmen abduct Filipino and Korean workers 

Gunmen have killed two workers in raids on water plants in south-eastern Libya and kidnapped five others, including three Filipinos and a South Korean, officials said.

An unidentified armed group abducted the Filipinos and Korean on Friday from the Al Hassouna plant where they were employed technicians.

Early on Saturday, gunmen killed a Libyan engineer and a guard and kidnapped two guards at a water plant in Tazirbu, according to the Great Man-made River Project, a pipeline network supplying water to the Libyan Sahara.

"An armed attack was carried out by terrorist groups on the Tazirbu site causing havoc, looting, killing and terrorising families, children and the workers who ensure the supply of water to cities," said a statement from the project.

The plants are part of the same network connecting desert wells to towns and cities in northern Libya. The Al Hassouna and Tazirbu sites are about 1,000 kilometres apart, an official said.

It was not clear who carried out either of the attacks, but armed groups including extremist militants linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS have a presence in Libya, especially in remote desert areas.

Abduction has emerged as a lucrative source of revenue amid the breakdown of authority in Libya after it plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi.

The country currently has two rival governments - the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli and the House of Representatives based in the eastern town of Tobruk.